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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

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We started the day in Kingman and after breakfast made a brief stop at the Powerhouse on Andy Devine Blvd. (across from the park with the large locomotive in it) to view the museum. I highly recommend this museum as a stopping point. It gives a great history of the road and its predecessors. One of the most haunting parts of the display for me was some of the black and white images from the Oklahoma migration in the 30's. The photographs were exceptionally well done and really conveyed the sense of desparation that those folks must have had back then. I've read The Grapes of Wrath a couple of times but those photos tell nearly as much as Steinbeck could.

 

Back on the road we headed west towards Oatman. One pleasant surprise was the rebuilt store at Cool Springs. Last time I had driven through was 3 or 4 years ago and all I recall was a pair of rock pillars on the site. It also looked as if the cabins were being rebuilt. The new owners have done a tremendous amount of work and I hope they are successful.

 

Cool Springs-Amazing Reconstruction

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A little further on down Oatman Road was Ed's Camp. One of the guidebooks I read described Ed's Camp as a photographer's nightmare with so many objects to take pictures of without a sense of space to frame them in. I settled for a snapshot from the road as we continued westward.

 

Ed's Camp

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The part of the road through Sitgreaves Pass was a tough part of the trip for my 10 year old daughter. She was suffering from a bit of motion sickness so we put her up in the front seat as I drove slowly around the curves. I've never had the opportunity to drive this road in anything smaller than a minivan or pickup truck but it seems like it would be a lot of fun in a sports car.

 

West Side of Sitgreaves Pass

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Heading into Oatman my daughter pepped right up when she saw the donkeys walking all over the town. I let her and my wife out as my son and I drove through town and parked our vehicle. As my son and I walked back into town we saw my wife and daughter being followed by a herd of donkeys. As we neared them we saw that they were both carrying a bag of carrots that had the donkeys interest. Not to be outdone my son bought a bag of carrots and soon had his own parade of donkeys behind him.

 

We spent the better part of an hour in Oatman looking through the shops and feeding the donkeys. We also timed our visit just right and got to witness the gunfight in the middle of the street.

 

Oatman Local

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Gunfight on the Oatman Streets

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We were soon back on the road heading towards Needles and after a quick lunch were back on the Interstate heading westward. Time was beginning to be a concern again and as much as I would have liked to detour through Goffs we also wanted to tour Mitchell Caverns. Unfortunately after rushing through the desert we got to the caverns before the tour started but were told that it was full. Next time we will reserve a spot before we get there. We did go a bit further north into Mojave National Park to the Hole in the Wall and hiked for an hour or so before heading back towards 66.

 

We rejoined Route 66 at Essex and continued our journey westward toward Amboy. I have driven this stretch of road 3 or 4 times before and it is up there among my favorites. Very few cars and 2 lanes of blacktop. There are a few stops that I would recommend the traveler to stop and explore along the way. There are some ruins at Cadiz Summit as well as the Roadrunners Retreat a little further west towards Amboy.

 

Roadrunners Retreat

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Heading towards Amboy there is a tree on the south side of the road that looks innocent enough until you get closer. When we got near we noticed that there were dozens of pairs of shoes that look like they had been thrown into the tree. I don't know what the tradition is behind the shoes in the tree but it was interesting.

 

Route 66 and the Shoe Tree

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Inside the Shoe Tree

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The most noticeable location in Amboy is Roy's. The last time I was through here there was activity at Roy's but they definitely weren't welcoming. This time around the area was open with a number of RV's parked in the area. I'm not sure if it was some sort of RV gathering or perhaps a film crew but it was good to see that there was activity there.

 

Roy's

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We followed Route 66 and just before sunset arrived at the small town of Ludlow. I recalled that the movie "Bagdad Cafe" was shot there but could not recall any of the buildings well enough to know which ones were used in the movie. We rejoined the Interstate in Ludlow and continued west toward Barstow. The section between Ludlow and Barstow would have to wait for another time as the sun was setting fast and our destination for the evening was Bakersfield and home the following day.

 

Some Ghost Signage in Ludlow.

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I did manage to drive down Main Street in Barstow before heading further west on CA 58. I know I posted the photo below on another thread but I felt it was a fitting way to wrap up this journey.

 

End of the Road in Barstow

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Enjoy the Journey!

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Another set of great shots. I like them all. It is fun to see how a pro sees a scene I recognize.

 

I recall the deserted station but I dismissed it. Had I taken the photo I would probably have cropped the tires, but when I see your composition, the tires really work. I like the composition of the roy's shot as well, I needed to walk around to the other side of the sign.

 

Are you shooting Raw files? Your shots have a snap (clarity) that isn't just in the size or sharpening. I assume you use a SLR. Could it be in the quality of the lens?

 

Funny story about the donkeys. They must be well fed!

 

You gotta subscribe to American Road, the magazine. You wouldn't have been surprised by Cool Springs. And it is a great magazine for anyone who enjoys road travel. I was a "charter" subscriber and have enjoyed every issue.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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